Sore back? 5 tips to stop your hours of computer use becoming a pain in the neck

Sore back? 5 tips to stop your hours of computer use becoming a pain in the neck

Sore back? 5 tips to stop your hours of computer use becoming a pain in the neck

Does sitting at a desk for hours on end leave you in agony with backache or sore shoulders? Here are seven ways to minimise the risks at work and at home.

Posture-related injuries from computer use. Back and neck pain, headaches, and shoulder and arm pain are common computer-related injuries. Such muscle and joint problems can be caused or made worse by poor workstation (desk) design, bad posture and sitting for long periods of time.

Tip 1: Improve your posture

If you’ve little choice but to be sitting for extended periods, there are several ways you can improve your ergonomics:

  • Sit with a straight spine instead of slouching
  • Keep your elbows at 90 degrees to help avoid nerve compression.
  • Keep your arms close to your sides
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor
  • Relax your shoulders

Remember to take regular breaks to avoid muscle fatigue.

Tip 2: Optimise your desk set-up

The ability to maintain good posture is often dependent on your desk set up. Here are some tips to help keep you upright:

  • Keep regularly-used items like a phone or notepad within easy reach;
  • Place your monitor at eye level, perpendicular to the top of the viewable part of the screen. This allows you to see a greater portion of the screen without looking up or down too far, reducing strain on the neck;
  • Place your monitor directly in front of your seat, to ensure you’re not twisting your back or neck to see it;
  • If you sit all the way back in a chair, use a lumbar cushion or get a chair with built-in lumbar support.

Tip 3: Raise your computer’s eyeline

If you’re working on a laptop, the chances are the screen is far below your eyeline, which means you’re probably hunched over with a great big curve in your spine. This is a big no-no. As mentioned above you should position the monitor at eye level (or slightly below where your eyes naturally fall), so you’re neither looking up, nor down which will also reduce the risk of straining your neck.

There are a host of monitor risers available at Officeworks or online from as little as $20, however, if you’re on a budget, a couple of reams of paper are just as good.

Tip 4: Learn to touch type

Another well-documented cause of poor desk posture can be constantly looking down at the keyboard when typing. Learning to touch type isn’t easy, but it’s worth investing the time to help improve your posture and keep your eyes focused on the display.

There are plenty of useful websites that can help you learn to touch type including Ratatype, Keybr

You’ll thank us when you’re knocking out the words at a comfortable 80 per minute.

Tip 5: Remember, this is a mobile world

When you think about it, so many of our daily tasks can be handled away from the desk. The devices in our pockets can handle phone calls, emails, instant messages, calendar appointments, voice memos, web research, note taking and video conferencing. So why not get up and walk around while taking care of these tasks?

Take a stroll in a nearby park, or take the dog for a work. Of course, bosses tend to be averse to random departures from the office, so be sure to send them the chiropractor’s bill if they object.

Young woman with pain in the back office.

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